Born 1881 Anno Brandsma to Titus and Tjitsje Brandsma, small dairy farmers in Friesland, Holland. Five of their six children entered religious life. Titus began his studies with the Franciscans, and entered the Carmelite novitiate in Boxmeer in 1898, taking his father's name Titus for his religious name. He was ordained in 1905, studied at the Roman Gregorian University, and graduated in 1909 with a doctorate in philosophy.
Titus dedicated his life to education, particularly to Carmelite mysticism, philosophy, and journalism. In 1923 he helped found the Catholic University of Nijmegen in Holland, where he taught and served as rector. In 1935, he completed a lecture tour in the United States at various Carmelite institutions, and in the same year he was appointed by his archbishop to serve as advisor to Catholic journalists in Holland.
In January of 1942, the Third Reich had invaded Holland and ordered Catholic newspapers to print Nazi propaganda. Titus hand-delivered a letter written by the Dutch bishops to the editors of 14 newspapers asking them not to obey before he was arrested on the 19th of January. By the 19th of June, he was in Dachau concentration camp, where he was hospitalized. On the 26th of July he was killed by a lethal injection administered by a nurse as part of their medical experimentation on prisoners.
Blessed Titus Brandsma was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985.
From his writings: "We do not accept the idea of emanation from the divine; we do not divinize ourselves. .... We admit descendence in dependence. We do not want a relapse into the sin of the earthly paradise, into the sin of making ourselves equal to God. We do not wish to begin a cult of heroes based on the divinization of human nature. We acknowledge the law of God and we submit to it. We do not wish to frustrate -- through an unhealthy and heady knowledge of ourselves -- our dependence on the supreme Being Who gives us existence."
This woman was described by a Sister as a religious "according to the heart of God: she was prudent and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealings with others, but firm in character." She entered The Society of St. Teresa of Jesus, a community of teachers, in 1904. She was shot to death on July 23rd, 1936, at the age of 56, in Barcelona.
From the writings of Blessed Henry de Osso, priest: "I shall live, eat, sleep, talk, keep silent, work, suffer: I shall do everything in union with Jesus. All that Jesus desires that I suffer or do, this shall I do in union with that divine intention and those sentiments that Jesus had in all that He did or suffered. Whoever does this will live here on this earth a life of heaven, will be transformed into Jesus, and will be able to say with the Apostle: "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me."
Murdered by Communists in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War: Sr. Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia, 58 years old, Sr. Teresa of the Child Jesus, 27, and Sr. Maria of the Angels, 31. On July 22, eighteen nuns of the Carmelite monastery in Guadalajara went into hiding in secular dress. These three martyrs hid in the basement of a hotel. Two days later, making their way along a street, a woman soldier recognized them as nuns and ordered them to be shot. Sr. Maria of the Angels died instantly. Sr. Maria Pilar, although wounded, cried out: "Long live Christ the King!" This infuriated the soldiers, who shot at her and slashed her with a knife. She died with the words, "My God, pardon them. They do not know what they are doing." Sr. Teresa was led to a nearby cemetery where, after her words "Long live Christ the King!," she also was shot in the back. They were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on March 29th, 1987. Their feast day is observed on July 24th, the day of their martyrdom.
Juanita Fernandez Solar was born in Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900, and died on April 12, 1919, in the Carmel of the Andes. She was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1993, who proposed her as a model for youth.
From her writings: Jesus alone is beautiful; He is my only joy. I call for Him, I cry after Him, I search for Him within my heart. I long for Jesus to grind me interiorly so that I may become a pure host where He can find His rest. I want to be athirst with love so that others may possess this love. I would die to creatures and to myself so that He may live in me.
Is there anything good, beautiful or true that we can think of that would not be found in Jesus? Wisdom, from which nothing would be secret. Power, for which nothing would be impossible. Justice, which made Him take on flesh in order to make satisfaction for sin. Providence, which always watches over and sustains us. Mercy, which never ceases to pardon. Goodness, which forgets the offences of His creatures. Love, which unites all the tenderness of a mother, of a brother, of a spouse and which, drawing Him out of the abyss of His greatness, binds Him closely to His creatures. Beauty which enraptures . . . what can you think of that would not be found in this Man-God?
Are you perhaps afraid that the abyss of the greatness of God and that of your nothingness cannot be united? There is love in Him. His passionate love made Him take on flesh in order that by seeing a Man-God we would not be afraid to draw near Him. This passionate love made Him become bread in order to assimilate our nothingness and make it disappear into His infinite being. This passionate love made Him give His life by dying on the Cross.
Are you perhaps afraid to draw near Him? Look at Him, surrounded by little children. He caresses them, He presses them to His heart. Look at Him in the midst of His faithful flock, bearing the faithless lamb on His shoulders. Look at Him at the tomb of Lazarus. And listen to what He says to Magdelene: "Much has been forgiven her because she has loved much." What do you discover in these flashes from the Gospel but a heart that is good, gentle, tender and compassionate: in other words, the heart of a God?
He is my unending wealth, my bliss, my heaven.
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